The right link building approach that leads straight to links

Did you think you had to send millions of emails to build links?

Think again.

My agency has never used mass emails to build links.

It doesn’t matter if it’s my own site or those of our clients.

Why?

Because it’s not the best way to use your time and resources.

In fact, this approach died a few years ago.

Eh. OK. But if that’s true, why do marketers still use this method? »

This may be because Google’s SERPs are flooded with posts that share outdated link building approaches, such as the mass email outreach approach.

But the truth is that this strategy is completely the wrong way to build links, particularly if you don’t want to be called a spammer in your industry.

In this article, I will share with you the right link building method that leads directly to links.

Doing it this way will build appropriate and lasting relationships with companies that will help you get to the top of Google search results.

Why Sending Millions of Outreach Emails Doesn’t Work

I won’t lie to you – email outreach can work for some traders.

But I want to show you why it’s just not worth the risk.

First, imagine this scenario:

It’s another Monday morning and you open your mailbox to glance at the latest outreach email you received.

Urgh. Another from the same company.

Do you want to reply to it or do you prefer to mark it as spam?

I’m guessing the latter (and maybe setting it on fire).

You are not alone with your frustration.

Recent research by Brian Dean found that the average response rate is less than 9% for these types of emails.

While some of our friends have been lucky enough to achieve a 16% response rate using a more personalized approach, the effectiveness of this strategy is questionable.

The low response rate is definitely an issue for me and tons of other marketers, but what all eyes are on are the reputational risks.

This is one of the main reasons I don’t think it’s worth it.

Send a few emails and you might get a reputation for being a spammer. And once you have that reputation, it’s hard to get over it.

As the great Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

But why are emails ignored or labeled as spam?

Here are some reasons:

Emails are sent to the wrong people

The reason for their silence is simply because they are not interested in link building

Your emails are generic

It is apparent from a mile that this is a generic email that has been sent to hundreds, if not thousands of recipients.

Basically, they know you don’t care, so why should they care too?

Emails lack a unique value proposition

The majority of outreach emails ask for a link to their message because it shares something valuable.

But let’s be honest: there is tons similar posts that are super in-depth.

So what makes your message so special?

How to Stop Wasting Your Time and Start Building Links

Even though we haven’t been involved in sending out mass outreach emails, we have struggled to acquire links from time to time.

And we know better than most that in link building, there are no silver bullets or magic tips that will guarantee thousands of links.

In fact, I must warn you that link building is resource-intensive and time-consuming.

With the right strategy, however, it’s totally doable.

A winning link building campaign involves the following steps.

Step 1: Search-driven link prospecting for businesses that have the same goals as you (e.g. they also actively build links)

Many companies want to build links like you do.

Because they’re in the same position as you, they’ll be more open to accommodating other brands like yours.

There are a few approaches that will help you find those who also work hard to improve their SEO performance and understand the value of links.

One of the easiest ways is to check the Google SERPs.

It all starts with keyword research but, in our case, we need to focus on keywords that have a decent level of competition, as well as the number of monthly searches.

Also, we don’t need to have a long list of keywords – around 20 search queries will be enough.

I use SEMrush to find keywords because it allows me to filter out search queries that have the highest competition and the most search volume.

In the screenshot below, you can see the most competitive and popular keywords related to content marketing:

So now we have a list of keywords and it’s time to move on to the Google SERPs.

What we need to do is upload a list of sites that currently appear in the top 100 results.

To shake things up, you can either use the SEOquake plugin or the SEMrush tool.

Personally, I prefer using the SEOquake plugin because it’s free and has a fairly simple interface.

If you decide to use SEOquake, remember to adjust your search parameters to get all results on one page:

The right link building approach that leads straight to links

After that, simply activate SEOquake and export the list of sites that appear by a keyword you searched.

The right link building approach that leads straight to links

Once you’ve exported all the relevant URLs, you need to separate the ones that are actively linking.

To get this information, I recommend using the Ahrefs Batch Analysis tool, which lets you analyze up to 200 pages at a time.

The most important metrics to use are the number of referring domains and the domain rating (DR) of the site.

To spot those currently investing heavily in link building, you can use Excel’s custom sorting feature where you ask to show the pages that have the lowest site DR and the highest number of referring domains.

The right link building approach that leads straight to links

By using such sorting, you will be able to see sites that are currently working hard on link building.

For example, in the screenshot below, you can see the list of pages that have created a solid number of links to them:

The right link building approach that leads straight to links

Then perform the same research and analysis for the rest of the keywords you selected.

Finally, you should double-check any uncovered URLs to make sure they are actually linking right now.

The easiest way to do this is to look at the Ahrefs chart which shows the trend of growth from referring domains to the pages you have discovered through SERP analysis.

For example, if a URL you are looking at displays a graphic like this, then they are investing heavily in link building:

The right link building approach that leads straight to links

Once you have a list of sites that are looking for links, it’s time to make a first connection with them.

Step 2: Connect with potential link building partners

Since you don’t have tons of sites you want to connect with, it certainly makes sense to use a personalized approach rather than sending out generic mass emails when establishing link partners. .

Why?

Because link building is in many ways relationship building.

Therefore, a custom key helps a lot.

Also, as discussed earlier, sending generic mass emails can get you labeled as a spammer.

What I recommend doing here is using LinkedIn as an icebreaker.

You can eventually switch to email, but it’s good to make that first connection through LinkedIn.

When you send your initial message, be sure to let them know why you want to connect with them on LinkedIn.

You could, for example, say that you noticed that they worked hard to acquire links to their site and that you thought there might be some synergy between your respective companies.

Be sure to introduce yourself first, but get straight to the point as quickly as possible.

Keep your messages friendly, kind but concise. Be direct with what you want, because honesty really is the best policy.

After logging in on LinkedIn, you can switch to an email communication where you have to tell them what kind of benefits partnering with you would bring them.

Step 3: Give them a good reason to partner with you

Finally, it’s time to give them a good reason to work with you.

  • What do they get for linking to your content?
  • Will they receive links from you to their content?
  • Will you deliver awesome content that they can put in front of their audience?

In my experience, the best value proposition is to give them links in exchange for them giving you links.

In other words, reciprocal links.

Nobody (not even Google) has explicitly said that linking to your partners on other sites is something that could hurt your SEO visibility.

An easy way to return links to your partners is to write guest posts.

With a guest post, you can create relevant and helpful content that you both can share.

This means you both gain more traffic and increased exposure to a larger audience.

However, if you don’t think this is a good idea, there is always a way to solve this problem by joining some industry groups and keeping an eye out for link building opportunities that pop up here and there.

And, in this case, you will simply share these opportunities with your partners.

If you are in a B2B niche, the right place to find such opportunities will be to join the B2B blogger boost group on Facebook.

Conclusion

So, mass emailing often doesn’t work if you want to build links.

Or, at least, it can easily put your reputation at risk.

But as we’ve seen, there’s a different approach that’s friendlier, more personal, and far more powerful for building connections and relationships with other businesses.

More resources:


Image credits

Featured Image: Created by author, March 2020
All screenshots taken by author, March 2020

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